Broad refutes England spin issue
Captain Stuart Broad insisted England’s batsmen are not vulnerable against spin despite Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla guiding India to a thumping 90-run World Twenty20 win at Colombo's Premadasa Stadium.
After India had set Broad’s side a challenging 171 for victory, several batsmen seemed vulnerable versus slow bowlers as England were dismissed for 80 - their lowest T20 total.
The match was essentially a dead rubber, with both teams having qualified for the Super Eights by virtue of their respective victories against Afghanistan, but veteran Harbhajan took 4-12 while leg-spinner Chawla finished with 2-13.
Broad said: “I’ve seen the guys play spin extremely well, certainly in training, we’ve been learning in Sri Lanka and we’ve developed well.
“We’ve had a really bad day today but it doesn’t affect our destiny. We still get on a bus tomorrow to Kandy and play in the Super Eights.”
The Nottinghamshire fast bowler did concede, however, that England’s overall performance was well below par.
“It was all-round really,” he said. “We were pretty happy with 170. We made a few mistakes in the field and we probably didn’t hit our straps as well as we could have done but we didn’t get it right with the bat at all.
“India got it very right - I thought they bowled very nicely. We played across the line a bit too much whereas against Afghanistan we struck the ball so straight and very cleanly.”
England appeared to have feasible prospects of chasing India’s 170 for four - in which Rohit Sharma top-scored with 55 not out - but not for long, once Harbhajan and his fellow spinner Chawla got to work.
“Any international defeat is really frustrating, especially when you put in a performance like that,” Broad added. “But I think it’s a little bit easier to take when it doesn’t change what you do. It’s not like tomorrow’s now going to be a day when we have to go home.
“Knowing that it doesn’t change anything really, apart from us having to maybe face a few more spinners in the nets, is nice.”
Broad, in fact, traced England’s troubles back not to the introduction of Harbhajan and Chawla at 39 for two after five overs but to the two early wickets lost to left-arm seamer Irfan Pathan.
“Our error today was we lost early wickets. Spinners always enjoy bowling to new batsmen,” he said.
“We talked the other day how well we hit straight and hard. Today to lose the first couple of wickets across the line was a bit disappointing. But you learn from your mistakes, and we’ll certainly bear that in mind when we come across a wicket like that again.”
Broad’s opposite number Mahendra Singh Dhoni sympathises with England’s difficulties, in alien climes, and expects them to improve.
“It is something that is a bit new and different to them,” he said. “In the sub-continent, at times when it starts turning the ball really stops - so you have to be really careful when playing those drives.
“It is a bit different, compared with England. But they are a very good side that has done really well in the last year. So you will see them adapt to conditions and get better in the future.”
As for his own team, missing at least two rested frontline performers today, Dhoni added: “We have a problem of plenty now, but I am quite happy with a problem of plenty.”